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The Inescapable Storage Challenge

There's a reality TV show in England that profiles people who need help ridding their homes of clutter and organizing their possessions. Each week, a self-proclaimed expert calls on a packrat. There is arresting footage of the home's disorder, lots of on-air soul-searching, and a catharsis involving dumpsters and garage sales. The episode closes with tearful congratulations and photos of order restored.

The IT world faces the same dilemma, except there are no rescuers from the BBC. Instead, CIOs, IT managers, and storage administrators must decide on their own how to restore order to overflowing electronic closets.

This is the situation addressed by the book Inescapable Data: Harnessing the Power of Convergence (IBM Press, 2005). "In the world now, there's data everywhere, spinning around you can't escape from it," says Chris Stakutis, an IBM technologist who co-authored the book with John Webster, founder of the Data Mobility Group consultancy. "This is largely a business book about how to leverage data to achieve efficiencies."

Byte and Switch has been granted exclusive online rights to Chapter 11 of the book, which can be found in our latest report: Computer Storage Impacted by Inescapable Data. In it, Stakutis and Webster muse on the process of deciding what data must really be saved, why, and for how long.

The authors focus first on the importance of organizing storage. Those who skimp on the task could forfeit control of their corporate destinies:

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